SSD or Momentus XT

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iBrody, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. iBrody macrumors 6502

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    #1
    After trawling through various websites, and threads on here, I am left confused as to which type of SSD to buy.

    Initially I was going to opt for the Seagate Momentus XT 750GB HDD, but thought what the heck, I may as well pay the additional £300 or so and upgrade to SSD (512GB).

    Now, with SSD, will I be better off buying SATA II over III for compatibility on an early 2011 15" MBP (2.2 GHz Intel Core i7)? I have no previous experience with SSD but my main uses are web browsing (80%), PS/LR (10%) and DVD editing/authoring (10%).

    ...after looking at prices for SATA III SSD's I was about to buy the Crucial M4 512GB SSD, but noticed on this forum and the Apple Support forum that a lot of people with early 2011 MBP's have had installation and freezing issues with the M4 (TRIM and Sandforce seem to prop a lot in discussions). I will not be using the SSD in my optical drive btw (although it is also SATA III).

    I don't mind buying SATA II, but would prefer SATA III due to it being newer technology and by buying into older technology I know I will regret it.

    I could always buy the XT HDD and then think about SSD when the next MBP's are released (if the new design includes SSD as standard).

    My budget is £550 max.

    Thanks
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Crucial M4 had issues when it was released but firmware updates have fixed them. Nowadays it's one of the most recommended SSDs for 2011 MBPs. I would definitely buy it if the money isn't an issue.
     
  3. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Thanks.

    If the Crucial runs fewer problems with a firmware update, will the following be a further hurdle?

    1. My MBP shipped with SL
    2. I upgraded to Lion via the App Store
    3. I will want to do a clean install of Lion with the new SSD (Lion OS X from pen drive at launch) .

    How do I make sure that the SSD works out of the box in the MBP should the SSD have been shipped with an older firmware installed (and also Lion will understandably not be 10.7.2 when initially clean installed)?

    Thanks
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    If you buy a new drive, it will most likely ship with the most current firmware, or at least one that has the fixes for the issues. It doesn't matter what OS you run because the firmware is OS-independent.
     
  5. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Cool, previously I have only tried a clean install from Leopard to SL with a new 7200rpm HDD (on an older 2008 MBP), which installed without a hitch.

    On a side note, I have re-downloaded Lion from the App Store, copied the installation file to a pen drive (I am only guessing that this is going to be recognised when performing a clean install(?)).

    So I am guessing I just do the same as an HDD clean install (except use a pen drive)? Back up my files, swap the HDD for the SDD, insert the pen drive into a USB slot, start the MBP in boot mode, format the SDD, then install Lion from the pen drive?

    Will the pen drive show up in boot mode ok? When I have previously performed a clean install, I had the SL DVD loaded into the opti drive.

    Hope someone can answer this, didn't see the point of starting another thread.
     
  6. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #6
    yup...it should recognize the thumb as the only bootable device. I would just hold the option key and select it so the computer didn't have to cycle all drives.
     
  7. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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  8. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

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    #8
    I have had both - an XT (500GB) and now an SSD (256GB) in my 2010 MBP.

    The SSD is clearly faster across the board than the XT. Things open immediately, faster boots, etc. I m very pleased with it. I went for a SATA II since that is what the 2010 MBP uses.

    THE XT has a significant cost/MB advantage and is no slouch either; if you always use the same programs you'll probably see some speed advantage over an HDD. I didn't see much but my usage patterns may be the reason.

    It seems you've settled on an SSD - so the real issue is what offers the best price/performance value? If cost is no object, go for the latest an greatest.

    However, unless you are doing the kind of file transfers that would benefit from SATA III, a SATA II drive is a much better value, IMHO.

    I use my MBP primarily to do some web surfing, get email, some PS, write documents and presentations, watch some ripped videos. I have never noticed any slow down due to file transfers - no beach balls opening or writing files, etc. I doubt most uses get anywhere near a SATA II throughput limit so I'd suggest pricing some of them and seeing if you find one at a good price.

    While it is older tech, the last generation, IMHO, often has the best value in terms of price/performance. Quite frankly, I think SATA III currently offers no real advantages for most users and you wind up paying a premium for performance capabilities you never use.
     
  9. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Thanks Jlc1978, any suggestions for a reliable (low cost) SATA II 512GB SSD?

    UK here
     
  10. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    ...saying that, I see Amazon are selling the Crucial 512GB M4 SSD for £482.

    I am having trouble finding cheap SATA II SSD's, are they no longer made?
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #11
    Sure... Intel 320 and Samsung 470 are pretty popular SATA II SSDs.
     
  12. Acejam2k macrumors regular

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    #12
    Go with the Samesung 830 512GB SSD. You will not be disappointed.

    There's no reason to grab a SATA2 drive anymore, when you have a machine that supports SATA3. (6Gbps link speed)
     
  13. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    If I opted for SATA II, would the Toshiba/Apple THNS256GG8BBAA SDD with TRIM be any good if I could get it for £500?

    I will check out the other SATA III SSD that Acejam has suggested and the SATA II SDD's Weaselboy has suggested.

    The Crucial M4 on Amazon was for the slimline 7mm SDD (didn't even realise they made a slimline version).
     
  14. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

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    #14
    Price. Very few users would see any performance difference between SATA II and III. If you can get a SATA II for less than a SATA III yo'll never see the difference and save some unnecessary cost. If the price is the same, then I'd say go for a SATA III>

    As for the OP, I don't have any 512 GB recommendations. I went from 500GB HD (XT) to a 256 GB SSD simply because the price point of a SATA II at that capacity was around a $1/GB; much less than any 512 GB disk.

    For me it was a good space/cost/speed trade off - most of my large file use is videos for watching while traveling. 70% of my drive space was in mp4 files. Realistically, I couldn't watch 10% on a week long trip. By planning ahead a bit I can load what I want on my MBP while keeping others on my no external 500GB disk.

    It comes down to a price/flexibility trade off. I found a 256 SATA II drive to be the best compromise. I'd lookout what I know have on my HD and decide if you can get by reasonably with 256GB; as another option.

    As a side note, not to long ago 80GB was a large MB disk. How times change. Of course, files expand to meet the space available.
     
  15. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    #15
    SSD. I have a dual setup, with SSD for boot and applications and HDD for space, but ultimately, I would like to go all-SSD with an OWC Extreme drive. Probably a few years down the road, as what I have now works pretty well.
     
  16. bcburrows macrumors 6502

    bcburrows

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    #16
    Sorry if this is not allowed to be posted - if so please accept apologies and remove.

    I am in the same situation as you right now - UK based and looking at SSD. The crucial looks pretty good to me. When browsing for prices have you tried price comparison websites and cash back sites?

    Crucial via quidco give 7% back I think!

    Not bad for free
     
  17. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Cheers everyone, still toing and froing!

    But to reiterate my earlier question, would the SATA II Toshiba/Apple THNS512GG8BBAA SDD with TRIM be a reliable choice if I can get it for £490, or is the SATA III Crucial M4 definitely just as reliable after firmware updates?

    The Intel 320 600gb SDD looks appealing, but sadly a bit out of my price bracket.
     
  18. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #18
    The OEM drive would be very reliable and having TRIM without a hack is a nice feature. I assume you are buying a used OEM drive pulled from a recent Macbook?
     
  19. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    nah, pc company on fleabay, says they are new.
     
  20. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #20
    I think Apple is using a custom firmware to allow native OS X TRIM on these drives and I doubt the same drive with the Apple firmware would be available new from any vendor. I have seem used ones pulled from MacBooks on eBay. I would be suspicious if this is a Apple OEM drive they are claiming to sell.
     
  21. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Just checked the description and it doesn't mention OEM, I think I just assumed that it was due to the photo showing a stock Apple SSD, so the unit could be pulled I guess, but it says new. There are 3 for sale from this seller.

    About the TRIM, the description stated TRIM when I looked yesterday, but the seller must have modified the listing as I cannot see it mentioned now! I did email the seller yesterday, who claimed that TRIM will work out of the box. I also note that the seller has increased the 'buy it now' price, hmmm.

    The seller is a legit store with over 2500 positive feedback so I am sure the SDD will be ok... you got me having doubts now lol.
     
  22. onions macrumors member

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    Aug 17, 2011
    #22
    i don't think it's worth the worry and hassle going through ebay. get a crucial m4 or samsung 470 or 830 and call it a day. they each have their own garbage collection methods and you can enable trim via the terminal hack if you want peace of mind. there's no guarantee that the drive is pulled directly from an apple machine and it may not have an apple id that your os would recognize for trim to work without a hack.
     
  23. iBrody thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Ok, change of mind (yet again!) I am looking at going with the Samsung 830 (thanks Onions) as it's own controller seems to be more reliable than the SandForce controller on most other SATA III SSD's.

    Before I splash out, can anyone confirm whether the early 2011 MBP with SATA/3gb/s optical bay and 6gb/s main bay problem has now been resolved with a software update as the article in the link suggests?

    http://blog.macsales.com/11895-2011-macbook-pro-sata-problems-resolved/comment-page-1#comments

    Although I won't be using the optical bay to hold the SSD, from what I understand, the 6gb/s SATA was not initially performing at 6gb/s speeds until after a software update supposedly resolved the issue. Is this correct?

    As long as I can be certain that I will be getting SATA III read/write speeds then I will get the Samsung, otherwise I may as well just go for a SATA II SSD.

    Sorry to go on about this, it's just that it's a lot of coin to spend and I want to ensure I get it right first time without having to try and fix problems once installed (the whole M4 firmware update malarky has put me off that SSD).

    Thanks everyone for your words of wisdom, it's been a great help (I didn't have a clue about how SSD's work to begin with, and although I still don't know much, I think I have a better understanding of the SATA II/III differences and controllers used by the manufacturers).

    Now why did that last paragraph sound like an Oscar acceptance speech?
     
  24. onions macrumors member

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    Aug 17, 2011
    #24
    if you have the latest firmware update the port on the HD will perform at sata iii speeds. the efi firmware is up to 2.3 i believe.

    i went through the same thing as you, finally pulled the trigger on a 256 samsung 830. i bought the laptop kit thinking the spacer to make the drive 9.5mm high would be useful. it wasn't. it doesn't attach to the drive in any way so only get the laptop kit if you feel like you need/want the usb/sata adapter. otherwise a desktop kit will do just fine.

    i'm hoping apple will release another firmware update to make the optical port stable and perform at sata iii speeds.
     
  25. sunnyj macrumors 6502

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